Believin’ It (Linn)

Claire Martin

Released April 26, 2019

Jazzwise Top 20 Releases of 2019




As you slump in front of whatever tethered device you’re currently allowing to leech your remaining insignificant personal data, your fingers twitching over your imperfectly installed apps, your voice too hoarse and broken to trigger Alexa’s watchful attention, what is occupying your enfeebled frontal lobes? Is your bod Insta-ready, is your interior design on fleek, is your holiday booked, are you happy in your work? Or are you watching slack-jawed while multiple platforms of digitally enabled nincompoopery mess with your vibe and the world outside your grimy windows seems like a weird, boring wilderness where the best lack all conviction and the worst are trending on reddit? Well, don’t get all down about it because here comes Claire Martin right on time with what you need – pure good vibrations in musical form cooked up to perfection and served to you with loving grace by someone who knows, who cares, and who really believes.

In a world that’s spoiled for choice, we all need a friend with an ear to pick out the songs you need, along with a voice to breathe new life into them. Let Claire be that ear and that voice, taking you by the hand and leading you into a storehouse of musical treasures, stocked up with a century’s worth of tunes laid down against times like these. There’s P.S. I Love You, written to shine a little light in the dark years before the war, there’s The Great City from the hip finger-clicking era that came after, there’s You Dream Flat Tires and Rainy Night in Tokyo from two of the West Coast’s golden 70s songsters, there’s even Broken Wings from the shiny brittle times before the wall fell, all re-purposed by Claire and her band of unfeasibly creative Scandinavian youngsters into tales for our time.

Let Claire introduce you to some of her friends, acquaintances and inspirations as well – John Surman and Karin Krog lent her the Cherry Tree Song, Duncan Lamont dropped by to say I Told You So, and Pat Metheny, Andy Bey and Joe Locke all sent their calling cards.

Martin Sjöstedt, Niklas Fernqvist and Daniel Fredriksson are on board on piano, bass and drums respectively, effortlessly climbing right inside every song and giving it exactly what’s needed; and for the final flourish, there are brand new lyrics by Imogen Ryall and Claire herself. The whole production is wrapped in love and respect; for the songs, for the music, for the performers, for you the listener, for whom Claire and her friends have put it all together and made it as good as it can be. Carve yourself out a chunk of time, put this record on, and make the world a better place for a while, just by believin’ it.

Eddie Myer

Track Listing:

1. Come Runnin’ (Roc Hillman) 3:54

2. Rainy Night In Tokyo (Michael Franks) 3:55

3. Believin’ it (Charles Davis / Gary Fears-Jordan + lyrics by Imogen Ryall) 3:39

4. I’m Not In Love (Eric Stewart & Graham Gouldman) 4:02

5. Broken Wings (Richard Page, Steve George & John Lang) 4:01

6. Timeline (Pat Metheny & Claire Martin) 3:38

7. A Little More Each Day (For Bobby Hutcherson) (Joe Locke) 3:49

8. You Dream Flat Tires (Joni Mitchell) 4:11

9. Cherry Tree Song (John Surman & Karin Krog) 3:49

10. The Great City (Curtis Lewis) 4:21

11. PS I Love You (Gordon Jenkins & Johnny Mercer) 3:58

12. Love Dance (Ivan Lins, Gilson Perzuzzetta & Paul Williams) 5:41

13. I Told You So (Duncan Lamont) 2:43


Claire Martin: vocals

Martin Sjöstedt: piano

Niklas Fernqvist: double bass

Daniel Fredriksson: drums

Recorded November 7 – 8, 2018, at Master Chord Studio, London UK

Recording Producers: Philip Hobbs, Calum Malcolm

Recording Engineer: Calum Malcolm

Assistant Engineer: Ronan Phelan

Cover Image: Kenny McCracken


From the super-fine musicianship to the beautiful recorded sound, Claire Martin’s first album with her new all-Swedish trio is a towering success. Featuring new lyrics by Imogen Ryall to an Andy Bey scat solo, the title-track, ‘Believin’ It’, crystallises all of Martin’s outstanding qualities: infallible pocket, dazzling technique, lustrous timbre and phrasing to die for. If anything, Martin’s reworking of Pat Metheny’s ‘Timeline’, for which she has penned new lyrics, is even more spectacular, with her control of the rapid-fire melodic line a thing of wonder.

As well as singularly beautiful versions of the Ivan Lins classic, ‘Love Dance’, vibist Joe Locke’s Bobby Hutcherson tribute ‘A Little More Each Day’ and the Gordon Jenkins/Johnny Mercer standard, ‘P.S I Love You’, there are deeply swinging takes on Curtis Lewis’s ‘The Great City’ and Roc Hillman’s ‘Come Runnin’ (Martin’s own homages to Shirley Horn and Lena Horne respectively), there are stellar re-imaginings of Joni Mitchell’s ‘You Dream Flat Tires’, Michael Franks’ ‘Rainy Night in Tokyo’, plus John Surman and Karin Krog’s enchantingly folk-like ‘Cherry Tree Song’.

Elsewhere, to hear Martin’s fine re-workings of 1970s and 1980s UK/US pop rock, head straight for ‘I’m Not In Love’ and ‘Broken Wings’, the latter lit up by a coruscating solo from Sjöstedt. An album that unfailingly touches the heart and lifts the soul. 

Peter Quinn (Jazzwise)